Disposal procedures for biological or medical waste depend on the classification and type of waste generated. Biohazardous wastes include solids, liquid, sharps, outdated pharmaceuticals, pathological, and contaminated glass waste. Request a Hazardous Waste Pickup: RSS or EHS Assistant.

What is Biomedical Waste?

Biological waste is waste contaminated with potentially infectious agents or other materials deemed a danger to public health or the environment.  They can include:

  • petri dishes
  • culture tubes
  • syringes
  • needles
  • blood vials
  • absorbent material
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)

View the links below for a detailed definition of medical waste:

Segregation and Storage

Keep the following waste types properly segregated until pick-up by USC’s Hazmat team to avoid area contamination.

  1. Dry Biohazardous Waste – Dispose the following materials in a red biohazard bag placed in a bin or container with biohazard labels on each of three sides and the top of it:
    • Contaminated cultures, petri dishes, and culture flasks
    • Plastic pipet tips
    • Wastes from infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, or live or attenuated vaccine
    • Waste contaminated with excretion or secretion from infectious humans or animals
    • Paper Towels, KimWipes, bench papers contaminated biohazardous materials
  1. Sharps – Dispose the following materials in a sharps container:
    • Hypodermic needles
    • Pasteur pipettes
    • Blades, microscopic slides, dental wires
    • Any contaminated material which can puncture or penetrate the skin or a red bag
    • Intact or broken contaminated glass waste
    1. Liquid Waste – Dispose the following materials through the conventional sanitary sewage system if the materials are inactivated for 30 minutes with a freshly made 10:1 dilution of normal household bleach. Follow with plenty of water.
      • Human or animal blood
      • Human or macaque body fluids, or semi-liquid materials
    1. Pathological Waste – The following materials should be disposed of immediately after they are generated. Contact the Hazardous Material Division for a white pathological waste container and to make pick-up arrangements.
      • Organs, tissues, body parts, and fluids which have been removed by trauma, surgery, or medical procedures.
      • Human or animal tissues injected with a human pathogen or are potentially infectious.
      • Animal carcasses are to be treated according the USC Vivarium policies. Currently, animals injected with:
        • Infectious disease agents, or viral vectors must be placed in a red biohazard bag then placed in the biohazard bucket within the freezer.
        • High hazard chemicals or toxins can be placed in a labeled Ziploc bag and placed into a chemical hazard bucket in the freezer.
      • Conventional mice untreated with hazardous substances must be placed in a paper bag and stored in the vivarium freezer.
    1. Outdated Pharmaceuticals – Used or expired pharmaceuticals are placed into specific HDPE containers supplied by USC’s Hazmat Division.
      • Chemotherapy – yellow body, white top
      • Pharmaceuticals (general, non-RCRA) – white body, blue top
      • Pharmaceuticals (RCRA) – black body, white top